Last season the Detroit Red Wings had 17 wins and 39 points in the COVID shortened 71 game NHL season. This season the Red Wings are 18 wins and 49 points in another COVID shortened NHL season. With only a one win difference in the two seasons, Red Wings head coach Jeff Blashill insists his hockey team is better.
Jeff Blashill who’s contract is up when the Detroit Red Wings season concludes Saturday, sees positive steps taken by the Red Wings this season. If you disregard one more win, Blashill’s statement may have some validity. No really.
Jeff Blashill has often been a target of Red Wings fans for a couple years now. But, as the developmental coach for the rebuilding Detroit hockey team, Blashill has seen his team have ups and downs. So is he correct? Are the Red Wings better?
For starters the games the Red Wings have won have come by and large with young players in the lineup. That in and of itself is indeed improved progress . It also lends to hope to the future.
Also, the Red Wings have improved defensively. No really. Last season the Detroit defense was 31st or dead last in the NHL, in a season the unit gave up an inexcusable 3.73 goals per game. This season the defense is ranked 20th allowing 2.98 goals per game.
What has not improved much is the Detroit offense. Last season the Red Wings offense was dead last averaging just 2.00 goals per game. This season the Red Wings offense is you guessed it, dead last at a very slightly better average 2.15 goals per game.
The offense needs to be a focal point for Red Wings general manager Steve Yzerman this offseason. While the Red Wings wait for top offensive prospects like Lucas Raymond to develop.
In conclusion, Jeff Blashill is correct, the Red Wings are better this season. There is still a lot of work to be done. But in a long rebuild at least the defense has improved. Not to mention the Detroit Red Wings are not in last place for the first time in a couple seasons. That honor goes to the Columbus Blue Jackets.